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Classic Formula Ford Features Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Champion’s chat

Cam Jackson talks tyres, speed and his Formula Ford plans for 2021

2021 Classic Formula Ford champion Cam Jackson showed at Snetterton that he was still the driver to beat. He may have lost his HSCC Historic FF1600 crown to Pierre Livingston in 2020, but he was back on top straight away with four Formula Ford wins, plus another his his Brabham Formula Junior.

His phenomenal qualifying pace at Snetterton – a second and a half quicker than his nearest rival, Tom McArthur – raised a few eyebrows. With the new, more durable Avon compound being introduced this year, was he taking a chance on last year’s fast, but quick-to-degrade rubber?

“No, we’re running the new tyre which is supposed to be harder, but the car felt great straight away on that tyre,” he explained.

“I mean, I got a massive tow, but the car in clear air will do a very low 4, maybe even a 3. I’ve always said, this car, the chassis is incredible, and it suits me so much.”

Jackson suggested at the end of last year that he was probably not going to commit to a full championship, but has his early success changed this plan? Although a relative newcomer to the Classic series, the last time he ran a part-season in Historic was 2017.

“I don’t know if I’m going to,” says Jackson. “I just thought I’d do the first round because I’ve got the time to do it. It might change later in the year.

“I might not do Classic all the way through, because it’s quite hectic and it’s a lot of running on the car.” (He is racing the same Winkelmann in both championships.)

The reason for this reduction in schedule is that Lincoln native Jackson is relocating to London this year with his family.

“Bit of a work thing, family thing, school thing,” he explains.

“This summer is going to be frantic.”

Anyone hoping to capitalise on his absence will have to wait for at least a while. He is going to enter the Silverstone rounds in May as he is racing in the Guards Trophy with father Simon, driving a Lenham GT.

(Image courtesy of Andrew Ellis)

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Features FF2000 HSCC

Molly Dodd makes her debut

There were several newcomers in Formula Ford machinery at Snetterton; Molly Dodd stood out among them.

Although car troubles meant that she did not get to finish either of her races, many observers were impressed by the Spalding teenager’s lap times and confident driving style. This was all the more remarkable as this was the first time she had driven a single-seater competitively.

“It’s the first time driving a single-seater in real life and my first time driving this car,” is how Dodd described it at Snetterton.

It was also her first time in historic machinery, apart from a few practice laps in a friend’s Clubman. All of her racing so far has been in junior categories, mainly the BARC’s Junior Saloon Car Championship, where she competed from 2018 to 2020. Despite her lack of experience with a car like her Royale FF2000, she immediately felt at home.

“I drove front-wheel drive cars before this. My main experience has come from Saxos.

“Whether it’s a case of it matching my style, or…a combination of maybe just experience, a bit of confidence. I feel confident here. Comfortable.”

Single-seaters have always been her ultimate aim, but getting a foot on the established career ladder is difficult.

“The mainstream, certainly junior single-seaters, things like Formula 4 and Formula 3, are quite expensive. This is what we went for in the end, a bit of experience.”

Dodd is a member of MSUK’s Driver Academy and her FF2000 activities are complementing the scheme’s physical training programme.

“The one thing I’ve found particularly is neck, which I’ve not had to do before. When you’re in a tin-top, you’re quite supported. I definitely need to work these muscles. But I was pretty physically prepared.”

Neck strain aside, she was enthusiastic about her experiences on the FF2000 grid.

“It’s a cracking experience really, learning from people around you as you’re on the move.”

FF2000 is back in action at Cadwell for the Wolds Trophy on the 5th and 6th of June.

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FF2000 HSCC Uncategorized

And the rest: Snetterton roundup

Two further Formula Ford championships were in action at Snetterton’s HSCC meeting this weekend.

The URS Classic Formula Ford 2000 series for later FF2000 cars runs alongside the URS Classic Formula 3 championship. 2019 Locost champion Murray Shepherd was the winner of both races. Driving a Van Diemen RF82 belonging to Tony Hancock, he was head and shoulders above his nearest rival Erik Pagano and was two seconds a lap quicker at his fastest. The gap between the pair, who came to blows on-track at Donington, expanded to almost three seconds in Race 2.

Although not quite within Vintage Formula Ford’s timeframe, the Zig Zag Lighting Heritage Formula Ford series hosted some older cars, including the PRS of Oliver Chapman, who had also raced in Classic Formula Ford the day before. The modern Ray of Max Esterson took both victories, with commentator Ben Edwards’s Van Diemen RF92 the first of the Heritage cars home.

Image copyright HSCC/Paul Lawrence

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Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Jackson five

No, that is a Formula Junior…

Cam Jackson won the second HSCC Historic Formula Ford race to complete a five-race clean sweep of the meeting, including a run in the Brabham above.

Back in the Winklemann FF1600, he was dominant once more and only seriously threatened by National regular Tom McArthur at the start. After that, he ran at the front like high-speed clockwork and never really had to look back.

Behind him, McArthur (Titan Mk4) and the Royale RP3 of Linton Stutely were entangled in a much more competitive tussle. Stutely moved ahead briefly on the second lap, only for McArthur to retake third two laps later. They swapped places again in quick succession following a lunge from Stutely at Agostini, but it was McArthur who prevailed at the end. He was struggling for grip and Stutely admitted that his car was lacking in some straight-line speed.

Horatio Fitz-Simon, driving for Classic Team Merlyn, was fourth despite a noisy misfire midway through the race. He was running on three cylinders for a while but the problem later resolved itself and he was able to keep clear of fifth-placed Brian Morris. The Lola driver won the Over 50 class.

The biggest scraps of the weekend for Historic FF1600 happened in the next pack. Max Bartell, in Ross Drybrough’s March 709, Danny Stanzl’s Elden Mk8 and Matt Wrigley in a Merlyn traded track space and positions throughout. Bartell and Stanzl started it, repeatedly slipstreaming one another before Wrigley muscled in on their group and a charging Callum Grant got involved. Grant, who eventually led their pack over the line in sixth place, had started at the back due to his first-race non-finish and made his way up the field in his Merlyn Mk20. Bartell was next, followed by Stanzl who lost the final slipstream battle, and Wrigley. Drybrough was tenth, having kept up with the four-car pack, and his fellow Over 50 front-runner Tim Brise (Merlyn Mk20) was a distant eleventh.

Teenager Samuel Harrison should have been up at the front in his new ex-Amanda Whitaker Elden Mk8, but a rear suspension arm failed on Lap 2. Harrison made two attempts to get his car going again but finally came to rest at the hairpin.

Full results at TSL Timing

Image courtesy of Andrew Ellis

Categories
FF2000 HSCC

Simms wins as back-of-the-grid chargers impress

Benn Simms won the second Formula Ford 2000 race at Snetterton comfortably, but the most dramatic action was further down the grid.

Simms, driving his Reynard SF77, won by almost 11 seconds from Graham Fennymore’s SF81 and was the only driver to dip under the two-minute lap mark. Fennymore just about kept him in sight until the end and had a sizeable gap between his car and Greg Robertson’s SF79. For a while at around lap 8, it looked as if Andrew Storer’s SF79 was going to catch Robertson, but Robertson put a safe distance between himself and Storer’s famous Pukka Pies-liveried car and finished just over a second up.

The rest of the field was quite a long way back and it was more than half a minute before fifth-placed Stephen Glasswell (Reynard SF79) appeared. The rest of the top ten arrived in intervals, starting with Steve Collier (Royale RP27) in sixth, then the SF79s of Brian Morris, Jon Finch and Jeremy Main, and the SF78 of Graham Ridgway.

This was where things got interesting; due to non-finishes in the previous race, Finch and Ridgway had started 24th and 27th respectively and had fought through the busiest part of the field in just ten laps. Eleventh placed Fraser Collins won Class B from 23rd, having broken a gear linkage on his Lola T580 in the last race. He had a terrific battle with Bernie Braden (Reynard SF79) for a couple of laps towards the end, before coming out ahead.

Adrian Reynard once again retired his SF79 on the opening lap. Molly Dodd was unlucky to drop out on the final lap in her new Royale RP27, having come through strongly from the back and set some good times for someone in her first FF2000 race.

Full results on TSL Timing

Image copyright Chris Dicken/Benn Simms

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Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Jackson and Chart do battle once more

Cam Jackson and Henry Chart have set themselves up as HSCC Classic Formula Ford’s premier rivalry with another one-two in the second Snetterton race.

Jackson’s Winkelmann got away quickly and remained at the front throughout, although Chart, in a Van Diemen RF81, was less than two-tenths behind and would have had a chance of catching Jackson if he made the slightest mistake. The presence of backmarkers towards the end of the race looked like it was going to help Chart’s cause, but Jackson negotiated them easily and did not lose too much time.

Jordan Harrison (Lola T504E) was third and much closer to the leaders than in Race 1, finishing just under a second behind Chart. Harrison had a fairly uneventful race again but racked up valuable points this weekend for his two podium finishes.

Simon Toyne, active in both Classic and Historic this weekend, was fourth. He managed to take advantage of a tussle between Samuel Harrison’s Elden Mk8 and Rick Morris in the Royale RP29. Morris had passed Harrison late on, taking Toyne with him and then past him. Morris was fifth and Harrison was very close behind in sixth.

Sam Mitchell, driving the family Merlyn Mk20, had been a constant top-five presence for most of the race but he retired suddenly on lap 5, promoting Harrison temporarily to fourth and giving Toyne and Morris the chances they needed.

Jake Shortland (Lola T440) kept Stuart Kestenbaum’s Van Diemen RF80 at bay to hold seventh. Tim Brise, another Merlyn driver doing both Classic and Historic this weekend, was ninth and RF80 driver Simon Davey was tenth, with the similar RF80 of Alan Fincham close behind.

Full results available from TSL Timing.

Image copyright Andrew Ellis

Categories
Historic Formula Ford HSCC

Jackson wins as Stutely feels the heat

Cam Jackson took his second win of the day in the season’s first Historic encounter, while Linton Stutely sneaked into third despite a fuel leak causing considerable discomfort.

Jackson, in his Winkelmann Class B car, astounded observers with a blindingly quick qualifying time in the 2:03s, almost a second and a half ahead of Tom McArthur in Simon Hadfield’s Titan Mk4.

This blistering pace was not carried through to the race itself, but Jackson was still charging hard and the only driver to get into the 2:04s. McArthur used his slipstream to great effect early on and looked as if he might challenge the multiple champion, but he lost touch and then had to contend with the attentions of Stutely’s Royale RP3. Stutely is never a driver to make rash attacks and he waited until the last lap for his chance to pass McArthur, having previously allowed him back in front when they passed an oil slick left by the stricken Lotus 51 of Peter Hamilton.

Stutely was dealing with a split fuel tank and spent half of the race sitting in a puddle of petrol.

Callum Grant, returning to the series in his orange Merlyn, had qualified well and started third, but his car started slowing for no obvious reason fairly early and he retired, allowing Stutely a clear run at the podium. Samuel Harrison (Elden Mk8) also benefited from Grant’s misfortune and took fourth place, having led the main pack and kept out of the way of the many private squabbles there. Brian Morris’s Lola was quick from the start but he was first overhauled by Simon Toyne, in another Lola, then Horatio Fitz-Simon, returning for a full season with Classic Team Merlyn. Toyne was fifth, Fitz-Simon sixth and Morris seventh.

Matthew Wrigley (Merlyn Mk11A/20), Danny Stanzl in his Elden and Max Bartell in Ross Drybrough’s March 709 all fought enthusiastically over eighth place, with Stanzl reclaiming his qualifying spot and coming out on top. Bartell was ninth, ahead of Wrigley who admitted that he had little experience of Snetterton.

Morris was the Over 50 class winner, ahead of 11th-placed Drybrough in a Merlyn Mk20.

Image courtesy of Andrew Ellis

Categories
Classic Formula Ford HSCC

Jackson and Chart renew Classic rivalry

The first Classic race of the season rekindled last season’s fierce rivalry between Cam Jackson and Henry Chart.

Jackson, driving the Class B Winkelmann in which he won the 2019 Historic championship, put his car on pole after a crowded qualifying session interrupted by a yellow flag, but Chart was not far behind, driving the same ex-Tim Harvey Van Diemen RF81 he campaigned last year. This pattern continued for the race itself with Chart remaining glued to Jackson for most of it. He did attempt a pass on the start-finish line early on and had a look at the hairpin later, but Jackson had managed to eke out a lead by the chequered flag, winning by 1.4s.

Jordan Harrison had a fairly solitary race in third, a position he held comfortably throughout in the Lola T540E he previously shared with his father Mark, who was 14th in the Royale RP21 that Jordan used last year. The unrelated Samuel Harrison was a solid fourth in an Elden Mk8, a new car for the Yorkshire sixth former.

Behind the Harrisons, more of a scrap was occurring. Sam Mitchell, who is sharing his father Westie’s Merlyn Mk20, came out on top and claimed fifth place, having seen off challenges from Simon Toyne, who had qualified in front of him in a Lola T200, and 2019 champion Rick Morris in his familiar Royale RP29. The three became two when Morris had problems and dropped back to seventh. Toyne made a few more attempts on Mitchell’s fifth but was fended off. Jake Shortland (Lola 440) passed Stuart Kestenbaum’s RF80 for eighth late on, ahead of Tim Brise, making his first appearance in the Classic series in a Merlyn.

Further back, Ben Hadfield (Van Diemen RF78) and Richard Yeomans (Crossle 25F) had a spirited battle, with Hadfield coming out on top in 15th spot. Yeomans was 17th, behind Ian Jeary, whose Elden Mk8 was decked out in a Candy Tyrrell tribute livery.

Image courtesy of Andrew Ellis

Full results are available at TSL Timing

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Classic Formula Ford FF2000 Historic Formula Ford HSCC News

The season starts at Snetterton

Vintage Formula Ford fires up into action tomorrow at Snetterton, both on-track and here online

Following a year’s delay, Snetterton will finally host the Jim Russell Trophy from tomorrow (17th April).

HSCC Historic Formula Ford, Classic Formula Ford and Historic FF2000 will all be in action, plus some Classic FF2000 cars up against the Classic F3 grid.

The Jim Russell Trophy Meeting should have opened the 2020 season as a tribute to racing school founder Russell, who died in 2019, but lockdown intervened. Snetterton was chosen as the venue due to the Jim Russell Racing School being founded there in 1956.

Two special trophies will be awarded on Saturday. The Jim Russell Trophy itself will go to the winner of the first Classic FF1600 race, and the Norman Greenway Trophy will be awarded to the winner of the first Historic FF1600 race.

Norman Greenway was Snetterton’s regular commentator for many years and is still fondly remembered. His widow Barbara and daughter Lee will be present, alongside Jennifer Russell. Barbara Greenway herself once raced a Formula Ford at Snetterton in 1985 as part of the Esso Ladies’ Race, itself a Jim Russell Racing School event and probably the first all-female single-seater race in the UK.